Everyone is at risk of getting skin cancer, it doesn’t matter where you live or what ethnicity you are, but there are a few characteristics that are often found in people who do get skin cancer.
Most cases of skin cancer occur in people 50 years or older, having lighter skin, red hair or blond hair, having blue or grey eyes, living in places nearest the equator, a lot of sun exposure such as working outside and if you have already had skin cancer increases your chances of getting skin cancer for a second or third time.  

A major factor in what kind of skin cancer you can get depends on the kind of sun exposure.  The least threatening and non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common in people who are in the sun a lot over many years.  People who work outside or spend a lot of time outdoors are most likely to get basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.  Malignant melanoma occurs most often in people who occasionally get high-intense sun exposure, sun bathe often and are in the sun in high and cold climates. These situations where the sun is more intense will most likely result in malignant melanoma. Also sunburns can increase risk of skin cancer by 50%. 

The most common signs of non-melanoma skin cancer are a growth on the skin –such as a new mole or freckles-, a change in the skin – such as discoloration or a growing mole-, and a sore throat that never goes away.  These signs are the most common and yet are the easiest to miss. Other signs are small tumors that appear like pimples on the neck, back, neck, arms and hands.  These small tumors may have a yellowish fluid, can appear as a sore but do not heal.  These small tumors are most often in basal cell carcinoma. 

To tell the difference between squamous and basal cell carcinoma is that squamous will often look pink and inflamed instead of a small white pimple.  The sores with squamous cell carcinoma will also feel sore, hurt and may bleed and crust over but never completely heal, whereas basal cell carcinoma is painless. 

The signs of the dangerous malignant melanoma skin cancer are usually is areas of the body that often don’t see the sun between the neck and the hips.  These areas don’t often see sun on a daily basis but will get bursts of intense sun exposure and sun burn. Melanoma is distinguishable since the moles will appear to grow and are multi-colored with different blacks and browns, and the edges of the mole are harder to find in melanoma skin cancer. 

The best way to prevent getting melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer is to wear an adequate amount of sunblock applying frequently with a high SPF.  Wearing hats to shield your face and wearing long sleeves and pants to protect your skin will also help you to avoid getting skin cancer.